From an IT perspective, Intel is still in the midst of testing and evaluating Windows 7 but so far sees improvements in driver and application compatibility, and likes the fact that Microsoft has introduced new tools like the Application Compatibility Toolkit and desktop virtualization to support "particularly gnarly" legacy applications that would require significant recoding to work with Windows 7.
T-Systems, as a managed desktop services provider to large enterprises, is another early tester of Windows 7 and has been since before the public beta. As its customers begin to ask questions about Windows 7, T-Systems has 70 employees using Windows 7 and is on its way toward 200 before the release of the OS later this year.
So far, T-Systems sees Windows 7 as stable and much improved in terms of compatibility compared with this point in Vista's testing. From the standpoint of Torsten Reinhardt, T-Systems' technology adoption program lead, the biggest business benefit in Windows 7 is one that also requires Windows Server 2008 R2, a VPN-less corporate access feature called Direct Access that T-Systems believes can save its customers money on encryption and VPN concentrators.
Reinhardt also sees benefit from Windows 7's improved search functionality but says it will likely work best with the next version of Office and Microsoft's enterprise search installed. The company has very few gripes about Windows 7 this early in the process, though Oliver Rother, solution manager for managed desktop services, would like to see the ability to encrypt a full drive from a smart card to meet some customers' high security demands.
Romanian power company Transelectrica always tests Windows versions before they're released and currently has more than 45 users on Windows 7. The company is running a mixed Windows Vista-Windows XP environment, with Windows XP on older computers and those running some critical line-of-business applications that don't work on Vista. It sees significant improvement in Windows 7's speed and ease of deployment.
InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).